A stellar international field has formed to contest the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but is Orfevre the best betting tip for the race?

Europe’s richest horse race takes place on Sunday October 8th and the winner will claim the prize as the winner of one of the most prestigious middle distance contests in the racing calendar – the Qatar Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.

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Currently last year’s runner-up Orfevre (3/1 Bet365) sits at the head of the ante-post market as the favourite. But should that be so? Have the bookmakers correctly predicted the winner or will one of the many other talented runners deny the Japanese their first victory in the Arc?

In last year’s race, after kicking clear of the field and looking a certainty to win, the quirky character of Orfevre resurfaced and he was collared late on at the line by Solemia. Although the layers rejoiced (after he was matched at the minimum low of 1.01 for more than £20,000 on Betfair), visually the Japanese challenger produced a very impressive display both travelling well and quickening up, much the best horse in the race. Certainly a repeat performance would see him go close but is that enough?

Judging by the relative close proximity of the horses at the head of the market (the leading 7 runners split by 9 points at the best prices) the market would lead you to believe that this year’s renewal is extremely competitive and finding a racing tip looks a tough task.

With such a global field it is obviously difficult to compare the horses and analyse form lines, however with the majority of the runners having completed trial runs we can at least consider their respective preparations and current well-being.

A good starting point has to be the Arc trials run at Longchamp less than a fortnight ago. The Prix Foy, Prix Vermeille and the Prix Niel were run on officially heavy ground at Longchamp which certainly didn’t suit some of the principles. However, the versatile Orfevre looked very impressive, after sauntering through the race he was asked to lengthen by Christophe Soumillon and the response was immediate with the son of Stay Gold quickening up well and moving clear of the rest of the field with relative ease.

His main market rival in the latest racing betting odds for the Arc, Treve (9/2 William Hill) also ran well when winning the Prix Vermeille in the quickest time of the three trials. However, she had to be kept close to the rail and allowed to come through runners, a tactic which her jockey Frankie Dettori has stated will be used for the Arc itself so could she be our horse racing betting tip?

Ruler of the World (11/1 Sky Bet) looked impressive when finishing a strong second to Kizuna (8/1 Betfred) and ahead of Ocovango (25/1 Coral) and Flintshire (12/1 William Hill) in the Prix Niel but that race looked to lack the class shown in the other two trials.

Ocovango is one of four horses who represent the most successful trainer in Arc history, Andre Fabre. Between 1987 and 2006 this master trainer has recorded 7 victories so ignoring any of his entries would be truly foolish. Of his entrants, Intello (12/1 William Hill) and Flintshire are the most appealing.

Certainly Flintshire wasn’t seen at his best in the Prix Niel as he was badly suited by the soft ground, and in circumstances more to his liking he could pose a genuine threat. However Mr Fabre has recently stated that Intello represents his best chance of winning an eight Arc. After a recent comfortable success in the Prix du Prince d’Orange over 1m 2f he will enter into the unknown in terms of stamina for the Arc. If he stays (and his pedigree –a Galileo colt out of a Danehill mare doesn’t guarantee it) he could have the class and turn of foot to replicate his win in the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club.

Of the others, Novellist (13/2 William Hill) is of some interest as although he was workmanlike when winning a Group 1 at Baden Baden on his last start, prior to that he won the King George at Ascot breaking the course record. That race was filled with Group winners so the manner in which he triumphed (a 5 length beating over the field) was striking, especially considering that the trainer was concerned that the good ground on that day would be too firm for the horse.

Although I am of no doubt that with the quality on show this has the makings of a vintage race not only do I believe that Orfevre (3/1 bet365) deserves to be favourite but I think he should be a fair bit shorter in the betting. Obviously the draw and ground will both play a huge hand in deciding the ultimate winner but those variables aside I can’t see past Orfevre as the winner. This five year old’s performance in the Prix Foy was very taking and his ability to deal with any ground, to travel comfortably coupled with his potent turn of foot may well prove to be too much for his rivals. Many may question his resolution and his quirky nature but his talent is undeniable!

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe Betting Tip

Orfevre  to win– 3/1 with Bet365

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Written by Marc Valentine

*NB. All odds are correct at the time of writing (24/09/2013)